23 MARCH, 2022

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Good morning β˜€οΈ

WhatsApp is rolling out a new update. 

Similar to what’s on Instagram and Messenger Chats, you’ll soon be able to react to messages

The update—which is only available for certain Android beta testers—will allow users choose between 6 reactions including πŸ‘πŸΎ, ❀️, πŸ˜‚, 😯, πŸ˜₯, and πŸ™πŸΎ. 

Soon, everyone will be able to save time responding to those awkward standalone “Hello’s” and “I miss you’s” we often get. 

GIF source: WaBetaInfo

In today’s edition

  • Introducing: Crypto markets
  • ThriveAgric bounces back
  • Egypt’s largest banks are joining forces to fund fintech
  • Bitsika thinks you should socialise while spending
  • Event: Building from Ground Up
  • Opportunities

INTRODUCING: CRYPTO MARKETS

We’re trying something new. Every day, we’ll bring you price updates on leading cryptocurrencies. 

What coins would you like to get updates on? Let us know!

THRIVEAGRIC BOUNCES BACK WITH A $56.4 MILLION RAISE

It’s been a tumultuous period for Nigerian agritech ThriveAgric, but it looks like it’s pulling through and living up to its name. πŸ’ͺ🏽

After surviving a turbulent 2020—a year that crippled a number of Nigerian agritechs in the crowdfunding space—ThriveAgric managed to salvage its name and repay investors

Now, the company has announced a $56.4 million raise in debt financing from local banks and other commercial investors including the USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment. 

Sidebar: Debt financing simply means borrowing money—which is to be paid back with interest—to grow your company, startup or business. Unlike equity financing, there’s no exchange of money for equity/shares in the company. 

Thriving with its new raise

According to ThriveAgric, the new funding will be put towards growing its 200,000+ smallholder farmer base, and expanding its products into new countries including Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia.

Smallholder farmers make up 80% of Nigeria’s $400 million agriculture industry, yet most live on $2 a day. 

Over the years, ThriveAgric has helped these farmers get more from their livelihood with products that offer them access to loans that enable them diversify their fields. ThriveAgric also helps farmers get better prices for their products—by over 25%—by introducing them to premium markets like fast-moving consumer goods (FCMG) operators and food processors. 

The company also has 450+ warehouses across Nigeria where it helps farmers produce and store their grains. 

With its new raise, ThriveAgric will be able to provide more farmers across sub-Saharan Africa with access to these products.

This brings ThriveAgric’s raises up to a total of $67.5 million including its $9 million raised in 2020, and its $1.5 million raise last year.

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EGYPT’S LARGEST BANKS ARE JOINING FORCES TO FUND FINTECH

It’s a great time to be a fintech in Egypt. 

Three of the country’s largest national banks—Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt, and Banque du Caire—have teamed up to launch a new fund focused on fintech in the region. 

The Nclude fund will be handled by Global Ventures, a leading MEA-focused venture. 

Over $85 million has been raised for the Nclude fund already with Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire at the forefront. Other investors include eFinance Investment Group and Egyptian Banks Company.

Why fintech?

High growth, and high returns. 

The fintech sector has consistently led in investments on the continent. In 2021, over 62% of the $4 billion raised by startups went to fintechs. In Egypt, Fintech investment grew by 300% in 2021 alone with over $159 million pulled by fintech startups in the region. 

Egypt has also enacted regulations that are favourable to fintechs creating digital solutions. During the pandemic, the government imposed cashless systems as sole payments for government services. 

The Central Bank also imposed daily limits on cash transactions in order to increase the use of digital transactions. 

Tarek Amer, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) which signed off on the Nclude fund also mentioned that investing in fintech is a “crucial step to transform Egypt into a regional center for the FinTech industry in the Arab World and Africa.”

Zoom out: The fund has already kicked off and made investments in 4 startups including Paymob, Lucky, Khazna, and Mozare3. The fund is also set help create new fintechs that address local and international opportunities in Egypt.

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BITSIKA THINKS YOU SHOULD SOCIALISE WHILE SPENDING

How would you like to create content around your spending? Or socialise on the same platform you use to handle some finances?

The truth is, socialisation is being built into every facet of the internet. There are websites that prompt you to create accounts, games that push you to buy skins and ammo, and even social media campaigns and chatbots by corporate accounts. All over, companies are building products and services that encourage seamless social interactions. 

African startups aren’t left out either. Abeg, a Nigerian social payments app, highlighted this in 2021

Now another, Bitsikia, is doing the same. 

The Ghanian remittance and payment startup, is trying to tap into social payment play by launching a social feature that will allow users to create social profiles and content on their spending; follow and be followed, and request and receive cash and donations.

A social divide

If you’re asking why Bitsika is rolling out this feature, think of every fundraising event you’ve seen on social media and how each has to be redirected to an external site or a GoFundMe page. 

With the exception of Twitter which only recently launched Tips, there is a divide between social media and fintech, and this is what Atsu Davoh, co-founder of Bitsika believes. 

With the new Bitsika app, users can receive money or donations when someone comes to the page without them having to supply a wallet address or tag. Similar to what Abeg does. Users can request money from friends, organise giveaways in-app, and crowdfund for important projects as well as a pizza for a night out

Will people bite though?

If Abeg is anything to go by, Bitsika’s new feature may help increase its 95,000+ user base. Abeg, with its strong launch strategy, was able to grow its users from 20,000 to 2 million within months. 

Will Bitsika follow the same path?

RELIABLE PAYMENT SOLUTIONS WITH FINCRA

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Fincra provides reliable payments solutions for fintechs, online platforms and global businesses. Their solutions make it super easy for businesses to send and receive local and international payments in EUR, GBP and NGN from/to customers, suppliers and partners seamlessly without the headaches associated with traditional payment methods. You can gain access to Fincra’s platform through a merchant portal or simply integrate their payment API keys into your platform. 

Sign up for a quick demo in less than 5 minutes here.

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EVENT: BUILDING FROM GROUND UP

What goes into building the world’s first cross-border payment marketplace?

This Friday, March 25, to wrap up the #BuildingFromGroundUp series, Kelechi Njoku, Senior Editor at TechCabal will speak with Kay Akinwunmi, Co-founder and CEO at Zazuu.

Zazuu is a money transfer comparison engine helping people access the best rates on remittances to Africa. It was borne out of a vision to make it easier and cheaper for Africans to send money to Africa.

This Friday, Kay will be taking us into what goes into actualising this vision, what his biggest hurdles have been so far and what he’s learned from them, and how he envisions Zazuu’s place in Africa’s fintech future.

Sign up here to attend.

The #BuildingFromGroundUp series is powered by the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub in partnership with TechCabal.

Note: By clicking on the registration link for any of these events, you’ve indicated interest in the event and will get an invite to attend. To opt out, please ignore the invite.

OPPORTUNITIES

  • The Ethiopian Women in Energy (EWiEn) has launched a start-up incubator programme designed to support women developing renewable energy solutions and ideas. Selected applicants will get training on branding, team building, market research and many others. Check it out.
  • The Acumen Accelerator 2022 for Ventures Serving Displaced People is now open to applications from East African businesses and startups that create sustainable living solutions for displaced people in East Africa. Selected startups will share up to $75,000 in grants. Find out more
  • The Women in Africa (WIA) Young Leaders Programme is now open to applications. Eight African women who are involved in building a dynamic, innovative, and inclusive Africa will get benefits like media visibility, networking and training. See if you fit
  • The King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment to Achieve the SDGs 2022 is now open to applications. Young leaders and youth-led entities from UN-member states who are contributing to the welfare of their communities are invited to apply for the chance to get up to $45,000. Check it out

What else we’re reading

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Written by – Timi Odueso & Boluwatife Sanwo

Edited by – Kelechi Njoku

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